The Red Jacket Diaries blog

Sue Horner is a freelance writer in Oakville, Ontario, who blogs about writing, newsletters, communications and running an independent business in The Red Jacket Diaries blog.

4 steps to boost your ranking with SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a fancy way of describing how to get you or your business in front of search engines like Google. The ideal is that someone searches for your name, of course, but SEO helps if the searcher doesn’t know you or have your name in mind. “Get into the head” of […]

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How to bury negative search results

Ouch. You Googled yourself and found false and nasty comments about you coming up on page one of search results. You need to take action. If someone has taken the time to smear your reputation, they are unlikely to respond to a polite request to remove or fix the post. (It’s still worth a try.) […]

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The ABCs of SEO (event recap in tweets)

If you run a small business, you want to be found for both your company name and the products or services you offer. At a meeting of IABC/Toronto’s Professional Independent Communicators this week, speaker Ray Litvak shared some tips for doing this. Several people were “live tweeting” the session, and I’ve gathered these snippets below […]

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Students, make the most of your professional association

September is as much a time of new beginnings as New Year’s. If you’re a PR or communication student, your new beginnings probably include building your network and launching your career. You can do both by making the most of your professional association while you’re a student or a new graduate. Your program fees may […]

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Avoid confusion by keeping it simple

“What does eponymous mean?” I’m usually your go-to gal for the meaning of words, but this one stopped me. I knew I should be able to explain the meaning, but the question sent me to the dictionary. Good for you if you know “eponymous” is an adjective relating to the person/thing for whom/which something is […]

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More do’s and don’ts for captions that hook your reader

Words are my business, but I realize that a stunning photo or clever infographic can often make a point faster than plain text. The August issue of my monthly newsletter, Wordnerdery, shares tips for writing effective captions (also called cutlines) that hook readers and pull them into the story once the visual has caught their […]

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Focus on content, not sender, for employee e-newsletters

What’s the best practice for sending an internal newsletter – from the CEO, “Internal Communications,” the head of the Communications department or someone else? That was a question that came up this week. I don’t know of any definitive best practices related to who sends an e-newsletter (do you?), and I could only find one […]

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Train your brain to be happier by being grateful

Do you have a positive outlook on life? I usually do (against all odds, you might say), but had never kept a daily journal of positive thoughts until 2014. For my birthday that year, my friend Sheila gave me a blank journal entitled, “Your story isn’t over yet.” It was a devastating year, to say […]

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Leads like flashlights and more great quotes about writing

While collecting bits of expressive writing, I also write down words of wisdom about writing itself. Here are a few examples: “John McPhee calls the lead the flashlight that shines down into the story.” – Roy Peter Clark “Ledes are like Japanese haiku. They have to sing. They are the store window. If the reader […]

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8 ways to get through the approval process

Sometimes, it takes longer for people to read your words than you took to write them. I’m talking about the abyss called the “approval process,” which swallows your articles, reports, web copy and other writing that will – eventually – appear in public. This is fresh in mind after I received an online newsletter with […]

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